HOUSEHOLDS have already spent £4bn stockpiling food, drinks and medicine in case of a no-deal Brexit, new research suggests.

A survey by finance provider Premium Credit found one in five people had begun hoarding, with the average spend around £380 each.

The survey estimated around 800,000 people had spent more than £1,000 on stockpiling in light of Boris Johnson “do or die” promise to leave the EU by October 31.

The government and the grocery industry predict short-term supply problems in the event of no-deal.

Of those stockpiling, 74% bought extra food, 50% extra medicine for themselves, 46% bought spare drinks and 43% had bought extra medicine for other family members.

The report also found Brexit-related stockpiling was also hitting business cash flow, as companies took out credit to cover the cost of insurance and other fixed costs.

Adam Morghem, at Premium Credit, said: “Over the past three months we have seen an increase in clients looking to use premium finance to pay for their insurance, and we believe a key factor behind this is the impact of stockpiling on cash flows, forcing more businesses and households to spread the cost of their insurance.”

Similar research in the weeks leading up to the original Brexit deadline found around 17 per cent of the country had spent £4.6bn stockpiling ahead of March 29.

The former cabinet minister Lord Heseltine, who lost the Tory whip for voting LibDem in the Euro election, yesterday warned it would be “an intolerable position for democracy” if Mr Johnson forced through no-deal without Westminster’s consent.

On Sky’s Sophy Ridge programme, he also took a swipe at Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s top aide, who he described in an article in the Sunday Times as a “self-styled revolutionary menace”.

“It is absolutely central that parliament should be able to call to account people who represent them as ministers, and at the moment we’re being told by a particular figure, who’s proud of it, that he’s more or less running the show.”

In their joint article, Lord Heseltine and former Commons speaker Baroness Boothroyd, warned the Prime Minister not to “rip the heart out of out democracy and subvert our parliament”.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse told Sky: “Obviously, there’s a lot of hyperbole being thrown about as we approach the date of 31 October.

“In the end, even people like Lord Heseltine, great figures from the past, who have never quite reconciled themselves to the idea that we’re going to leave the European Union, are going to have to focus on the fact that that’s what the British people commanded us to do, and that’s what the government is committing to do at the end of October.”

Looking ahead to a meeting between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Mr Johnson next month, the Irish government last night insisted the border backstop would not be up for renegotiation.

Despite Mr Johnson making abolition of the backstop a precondition for talks with the EU, Dublin stressed changes to the Withdrawal Agreement would not be countenanced.

A spokesman for the Taoiseach said on Sunday: “The Taoiseach has invited the British Prime Minister to Dublin for talks on Northern Ireland and Brexit.

“Their offices are in contact to agree a date for these talks in the coming weeks.

“Such a meeting would give both sides an opportunity to gain a better understanding of their respective positions.

“As has repeatedly been made clear, the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop are not up for negotiation.

“Any discussions on changes to the Political Declaration would occur between the UK and the EU.”